I stood on the hill, looking out over the valley. The sun was hitting the vibrant orange, warm red and sunny yellow of the leaves as they swayed in the wind. The light hit the trees in such a way that you could almost see them sparkle. I suppose it was a beautiful sight, but my thoughts were such that even though I could see the brilliant colors, all I felt in that moment was grey.
Is this what life is like when God is quiet? Grey, foggy, silence . . .
I have several friends waiting on God right now. These friends are waiting on a forever home, a spouse, a baby, a prodigal child to return to God and to hear about a job. Their humanness wants the silence to end right now, showing them their happy ending in this season. Their desire for holiness tells them He is who He says He is as they ask for more patience.
It’s so hard to be in the waiting room as you long to hear from God. The feeling of frustration, anxiety and even fear can be overwhelming. Any answer is better than waiting.
I learned the difficulties of this season when my younger son, Wesley, was about ten weeks old. A group of us had gone to an Amy Grant concert so my sister graciously agreed to come over and watch the boys. There was a whole debacle with lost keys so we were rather late getting home. When I entered the house, Beth rushed over to tell me that Wes’s lips had turned blue when he was sleeping. She woke him up and he seemed fine but she thought I should know.
Honestly, I didn’t think too much about it until the next morning when he was sleeping and his lips turned blue again. I picked him up and he still wouldn’t wake up so I put him over my shoulder and rubbed him until he finally opened his eyes. I was extraordinarily calm until that moment and then I lost it.
I called the doctor when I regained my composure and they told me to bring him right in. After a few tests and a couple nights in the hospital they diagnosed Wes with bradycardia; his heart would slow down until it could eventually stop. They sent us home with a monitor that he had to wear whenever we weren’t holding him.
Every night I would get up and check on him several times, asking God to spare Wes, knowing that the monitor could only do so much. The monitor would go off two or three times a week for about 3 months. Then in June, it started going off more frequently. It would go off nightly then it became a couple of times a night until it went off almost every hour for four nights in a row. Often the only way to wake him was with cold water. I rarely slept during this period and when the monitor wasn’t going off, I was begging God to take away this chaos.
“My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? Why are you so far from saving me, so far from my cries of anguish? My God, I cry out by day, but you do not answer, by night, but I find no rest.” Psalm 22:1-2
After those four nights, the monitor slowly went off less and less. By the end of July, it rarely went off at all. We were through the worst of it and all was fine. As Wes’s first birthday came the doctor told us we wouldn’t be needing the monitor anymore. This sounds reasonable, unless you are a Mom who witnessed those four nights in June. Then it becomes just plain scary!
Of course, we were blessed with a happy ending, as Wes is a healthy and happy 33 year old today. But in that season, I didn’t know what would happen. The waiting room was grey and foggy and hushed.
Last week we talked about how God could handle our anger, our frustrations and our questions. This week I am telling you that there were moments when I doubted God. Not just where He was, but IF he was there at all. They were fleeting moments but they were real. And even when I didn’t question Him, I wasn’t always really trusting Him with Wes. I felt like a kid who wanted to catch the firefly, but when she caught it in her hand, she couldn’t enjoy the beauty of its light because she had to close it in her hand to keep it. She wanted to see it but just couldn’t let go. I wanted to trust God, but couldn't quite let go of Wesley.
“For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are – yet was without sin. Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.” Hebrews 4:15-16
I’m not sure I ever completely trusted God with Wes. I tried and I wanted to, but I’m just not sure I did. Thankfully He meets us where we are. Hebrews goes on to say that each high priest is compassionate as he is able to deal with us gently when we are ignorant or go astray, because he is also subject to weakness. (Hebrews 5:1-2) Since Jesus is the highest of priests, He is the most compassionate with us.
If you are in that grey, foggy, silent waiting room right now, stand firm in your loving Father. When you feel Him leading you to the exit of the waiting room, know that He is waiting on the other side for you with open arms. He will walk with you, because He never left you. I pray that you can believe these words and find some joy even in this season of waiting.
“Lord, even when your path takes me through the valley of deepest darkness, fear will never conquer me, for you already have! You remain close to me and lead me through it all the way. Your authority is my strength and my peace. The comfort of your love takes away my fear. I’ll never be lonely, for you are near.” Psalm 23:4 (Passion Translation)